48 Hours In Charlottetown, PEI

Above: The East Point Lighthouse, built in 1867

Prince Edward Island is not all Anne of Green Gables. One of the most beautiful spots in Canada, the only island province, PEI is a must-see stop on any trip to the Maritimes. It’s completely surrounded by red shore beaches, sand dunes and ocean views. And Charlottetown is its biggest city full of Canadian history and Acadian music and culture.

What to see

If you can get out of the city for an afternoon, take the hour-long coastal drive to the East Point Lighthouse. It stands 64 feet high, which is incredible since it was made mostly from a single tree. If it’s clear enough you can look out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and see all the way to Cape Breton.

The real treat of this sight is the drive up the coast. You’ll pass St. Peters Bay, a small fishing town speckled with bright coloured houses along the shore. Make sure you also stop off at Naufrage harbor, but beware; it will look like you’re driving straight into the ocean.

What to do

Belvedere is a tradition 18-hole golfing club just 5 minutes from downtown Charlottetown. On 150-acres inside the city, it has the best views and is the number one golfing destination in all of Canada. But, it wouldn’t be an island without fishing. Just figure out what you want to catch, from mackerel to lobster, and choose from one of dozens of chartered fishing companies. Boats will take you out into the Northumberland Straight, or even the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. If you want to catch something bigger, you can go tuna or shark angling off the Island.

Where to stay

The Great George is a hotel built in 1846, which they’ve taken years to restore to its original state. It’s furnished with all original wood fixtures and huge leather smoking chairs, making it the ultimate man cave hotel. And it’s an important piece of history. In 1864, exactly 150 years ago, the Fathers of Confederation stayed in The Great George while attending The Charlottetown Conference to discuss Canadian unity. Sir John A MacDonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada, was among them.

What to eat

Seafood. Ask any Islander and they’ll tell you the best place for fish and chips is Richard’s at Covehead Wharf. It’s more than just a shack by the sea; there’s seating. You can relax on the rooftop patio and watch the blue and yellow tugboats coming into the harbor. And the food is great: battered haddock served with a special dill and sundried tomato tartar sauce.

The Prince Edward Island Preserve Company has delicious fish cakes, serves high tea and makes and bottles their own preserves daily. Right on the River Clyde, The Preserve Company maintains huge gardens just outside the restaurant, two butterfly houses and a local theatre.

Tags: Charlottetown, PEI, Travel Guide

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